By Dan Rizzo

Using digital content in HCP meetings drives 2.5 times more patient starts than meetings that don’t use content, according to recent Veeva Pulse data. But there are wide gaps in usage between biopharma field teams – with leaders sharing digital content more than four times the laggards. And many biopharmas are focused on churning out more and more content, when the focus should be on creating content that is highly adopted by the field and engages HCPs effectively.

Recently, I had a chance to talk with Jay McMeekan, senior director, commercial digital center of excellence, at Kyowa Kirin about how companies can shape field behaviors to maximize content usage. Here are the highlights.

Where is the industry in terms of awareness of the impact of digital content on commercial success? And has this awareness filtered down to field and field management?

Jay McMeekan: I think there is a significant knowledge gap. When I first saw the 2.5x statistic, I was hesitant to believe it. So, I actually looked at our metrics – reps who used digital content and those who didn’t. Those who did use digital content more consistently performed better. There was a clear correlation. But I’m not sure everyone knows that. I am now working with our brand teams to review this data on a monthly basis, identify the top 10 shared assets, and share those details with our field to increase their awareness.

DR: We also see a wide disparity in digital content use between biopharmas. Globally, field teams are using digital content in 39% of meetings. But, when you zoom out a little, the gap is even more apparent: the top three organizations are using content 70% of the time compared to 18% for the bottom three. What’s creating that gap?

JM: Something that often gets overlooked is the field team’s comfort level with the technology. As pharmaceutical industry digital leaders, we spend a lot of time training them on messaging and how to respond to questions, but might not spend enough time on how digital content can be used to support better customer experience. That’s one area digital leaders can focus on.

Then, are we effectively involving the field team in the content we’re building? These are the folks who are going to be using this content in front of the customer. Does the content support the way field teams are trying to engage that HCP? If you’ve already spent a lot of time and resources building content and then ask your field team, ‘Does this work for you?’ then it’s already too late. Bring the field team in early to help you figure out what works and what doesn’t.

DR: What kind of practical advice can field teams provide to brand teams around content creation?

JM: Have your field team review your content and provide feedback. They might tell you, ‘This is not helping me explain how this product works. What about this angle or that angle?’ Not only will that feedback make your content more effective, but it will also create champions out of your field team. They aren’t using the content because they were told to, but because they helped create it. And the content will help them create a better customer experience and convey messages more effectively.

DR: Biopharmas created 20% more content year-over-year in 2022, but nearly 80% of that content is rarely or never used by field teams. Field teams’ content needs will also be different from customer to customer. How do you prioritize content quality and effectiveness over quantity?

JM: It’s important to put strict measures in place. For example, we limit our content to 10 slides. If it’s more than that, the field team is not going to be able to quickly and easily locate the content they need. In the past, companies might have had 70-page iPad presentations. We need to move past that and focus on the effectiveness of content, not the quantity.

You need to be mindful of duplicate content, as well. If you have multiple versions with the same message, how will the field team know which one to use? We encourage our team to focus on quality not volume, because that’s what will drive better engagement.

The need for personalization is also driving some of this. More content gets created to address each specific use case. But it’s still important to look back at the data. What’s being used? How much is it being used? I think for many organizations, that data would be eye-opening.

Read the latest Veeva Pulse Field Trends report to learn how digital content can help your company drive commercial success.

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